Arkham Origins moved development away from series creators Rocksteady Studios, and is written by Corey May and Dooma Wendschuh. The game's main storyline is set five years before that of 2009's Batman: Arkham Asylum and follows a younger and less refined Batman who has a bounty placed on his head by crime lord Black Mask, drawing eight of the world's deadliest assassins to Gotham City on Christmas Eve. The game is presented from the third-person perspective with a primary focus on Batman's combat and stealth abilities, detective skills, and gadgets that can be used in both combat and exploration. Arkham Origins is the first game in the series to feature multiplayer gameplay.
Arkham Origins will feature similar gameplay to its predecessors. The Remote Claw is a new gadget which allows Batman to target two objects and pull them together allowing him to knock enemies together or hit them with objects. Tethering two walled-points together creates a tightrope that Batman can traverse. The Shock Gloves allow Batman to block electric attacks, instantly disable some enemies and stun shielded ones, and short circuit some objects within the environment. Some gadgets present in the Batman: Arkham series return in Arkham Origins, including: the Cryptographic Sequencer, which is used for hacking security consoles; the batarang, a throwing weapon; the batclaw, used for hooking on to a surface; Smoke Pellets, used for stealthy exits and entries; Explosive Gel; and the Grapnel Accelerator, an earlier version of the "Grapnel Boost".
The game introduces a fast travel system, allowing Batman to remotely summon his plane, the Batwing, to transport him to other areas of the game world quicker than gliding or grappling can allow. Enemy tower installations prevent Batman summoning the craft in some areas and must be first disabled using various gadgets and abilities to make the Batwing available; the Batwing is not player controlled. Some towers can only be disabled when the player has obtained the necessary equipment. Combat introduces a tracking system which assesses the players' efficiency, highlighting various achievements in battle such as avoiding damage and using gadgets. Combined with chaining attacks together, the performance is rewarded with experience points. These points can be used in a branching upgrade system to enhance Batman's abilities and gadgets, allowing players to upgrade multiple paths or specialize in one. The game introduces two new enemy types: the "Martial-Artist" who is capable of blocking, evading and countering Batman's attacks, and the "Armored Enforcer" who is invulnerable to harm until he is dazed and de-armored.
Arkham Origins offers side missions including: "Crime in Progress", where Batman can assist the Gotham City Police Department (GCPD) to improve his reputation by accomplishing tasks such as rescuing police officers from a gang or preventing an informant being thrown to his death; "Most Wanted" allows Batman to pursue villains outside of the main story such as Anarky, who plants bombs around city. The Dark Knight system offers tasks of escalating difficulty that promote improvement in stealth and combat. Additionally, Batman's radio scanner also allows him to locate side missions. Completed side missions are rewarded with experience points and upgrades to Batman's equipment.
The game features an emphasis on Batman's detective skills: Batman can scan a crime scene using his "Detective Vision" (displayed in first-person perspective) to highlight points of interest and holograms act out theoretical scenarios of the crime that occurred. The crimes can be reviewed on the Batcomputer in the Batcave at will, allowing the player to view virtual recreations of the scene from different angles with the ability to move back and forth through the timeline of the crime, view it in slow motion, or pause it while looking for clues to advance and solve the crime. Small and large crime scenes are spread out over Gotham City. For example, reviewing the downing of a helicopter, Batman is presented with false and accurate clues; investigation of the scene can reveal that the helicopter was shot, allowing Batman to trace the bullet's trajectory to a murdered police officer and another crime scene. Once a crime is solved, the player is shown a Batman-narrated rundown of the crime. The Batcave also serves as a hub where Batman is able to change costumes, upgrade his equipment, and access challenge maps to practice combat - these maps were accessed separately from the main game in previous installments. Collectible objects will also be returning, in similar style to the "Riddler challenges" of previous games. A "1 vs. 100" mode tasks the player with surviving in combat against 100 increasingly difficult enemies. Arkham Origins features a "New Game Plus" mode.
Arkham Origins also introduces a multiplayer component to the series. One mode, called "Invisible Predator Online", revolves around a gang war between the supervillains Joker and Bane. It involves a match of 3 Joker gang members against 3 Bane gang members against the team of Batman and Robin (Dick Grayson). Gangs win by killing all of the opposing team's reinforcements, while Batman and Robin win by accruing intimidation points by eliminating gang members. At a specific point a gang member can become their respective boss – Joker or Bane – gaining more powerful abilities. Gang members have access to guns, and explosives, while Batman and Robin have access to gadgets and abilities from the main game, including "Detective Vision". Gang members have a limited "enhanced vision" which requires recharging.
"Invisible Predator Online" features a customization element that allows players to outfit all three factions with unlockable gear and outfits, earned through playing the mode. Gear includes such things as new weapons and additional loadout slots, while outfits include Batman's costume from Batman: The Animated Series and Tim Drake's costume from Batman: Arkham City.
Arkham Origins features a large ensemble cast of characters from the history of Batman comics. The main character is Batman (Roger Craig Smith), a superhero trained to the peak of human physical perfection and an expert in martial arts. He is aided by his butler Alfred Pennyworth (Martin Jarvis). Arkham Origins marks the debut of crime lord Black Mask (Brian Bloom) – following a cameo in Arkham City. He places a bounty on Batman which draws the attention of multiple assassins including: Bane (J. B. Blanc), the expert-marksman Deadshot, Deathstroke, the poisonous contortionist Copperhead (Rosa Salazar), and the pyromaniac Firefly. Other villains include the psychopathic Joker (Troy Baker), the Penguin (Nolan North), the mind-controlling Mad Hatter (Peter MacNicol); and the anti-government, anti-corporation anarchist Anarky.
Batman is pursued as an outlaw by the Gotham police including GCPD Captain James Gordon (Michael Gough); corrupt GCPD officials Commissioner Gillian B. Loeb, and SWAT team leader Branden. The story takes place before the existence of Batman's sidekick Robin, and Batgirl, although Robin appears as a playable character outside of the main story
The events of Arkham Origins are set approximately five years before Batman: Arkham Asylum, in the middle of winter in fictional Gotham City. Batman is an experienced crime-fighter in the second year of his career, but has not yet become the veteran superhero portrayed in Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. He remains a mysterious force with even the police unsure if he is a vigilante, a myth or supernatural. Batman has battled with traditional criminals and gangsters and is used to being stronger and faster than his targets. However, on a snowy Christmas Eve, he is confronted by far more dangerous foes: eight professional assassins aiming to collect the $50 million bounty put on Batman's head by the sadistic and brutal crime lord Black Mask. Black Mask is the most powerful man in the city, possessing vast wealth and resources, and controls Gotham's criminal underworld, having eliminated his opposition and begun consolidating his power. His mask conceals his identity, allowing him to operate publicly as Roman Sionis, head of Janus Cosmetics. Black Mask's henchmen help instigate a rise in crime and gang activity in the city. The Gotham City Police Department, led by Commissioner Loeb, and Captain James Gordon, are wary of the new superhero in their midst, and are not his allies. Branden leads his SWAT team in hunting down Batman. Batman's relationship with his ally Alfred is strained. Batman sees Alfred as a reminder of his parents' deaths, and an overbearing parental figure, while Alfred sees Batman as a spoiled child squandering his inheritance on his vigilante crusade, causing the two to repeatedly come into conflict.
Old Gotham, the segment of Gotham City which will become the Arkham City prison, is not yet walled off, and contains slums, lower buildings, a large shopping mall, and docks where Penguin's ship Final Offer is stationed. Within Final Offer, Penguin has added a casino, fighting pit and sales floor with weapons and ammunition. Across the bridge from Old Gotham is New Gotham, the more modern metropolitan area of the city filled with towering skyscrapers.
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